The Document Review Process: A Whitepaper
A document encompasses many forms – technical documentation, product data sheets, press releases,
product brochures, legal and medical documents, architectural drawings, white papers, and even Web
pages. Whether reviewing electronic documents or printed documents, the review process is similar –
and the problems people face are very much the same.
The document review process is defined by a workflow. The review is a series of processes or steps
that are performed in sequential order. A typical scenario often includes one or more authors creating a
document that is then reviewed by a number of others and ultimately approved by a specific individual.
The document review cycle, for both electronic and print documents, consists of several stages:
After the document or Web page is created, it is made available to a group of people for review,
either concurrently or sequentially. This stage generally requires some collaboration between the
reviewers. After all of the reviewers’ comments and suggestions are approved or rejected, the docu-
ment is then updated with the changes. At that time, a review may occur again. Once all collaborators
have completed their reviews and all updates are made, the final document is published. This cycle
repeats itself, usually indefinitely, because rarely is a document ever “completely finished.”
In the printed or paper-based world, the document review process may even be inefficient and error
prone as it involves the distribution of printed copies to many reviewers. Each reviewer then marks
up, places sticky notes, writes on, and even attaches other material to the copies of the original
document. All of these copies are then given back to the author, who has to discern what is being
requested by each reviewer, if the reviewers can even be identified. Typically, there are numerous
versions of the document “floating” around, complicating matters further.
Documents in electronic form have simpl